Alan Whitehead

Labour MP for Southampton Test

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A walk with the guide dogs

I had the pleasure of meeting a team from Guide Dogs UK today, who came to show me some of the perils a blind person and their dog can face on busy high streets.

The team brought Taylor the dog with them, who led me down Portswood High St so I could get a feel of what blind people experience when being led by their dog on a daily basis. 

Something that the Guide Dog team are campaigning on at the moment is raising awareness of how obstacles, particularly parked cars can be dangerous to blind people and guide dogs. The dogs are trained to move around objects, as Taylor did with me whilst walking down busy Portswood High St, but sometimes the path is so congested the dog can't find a way round and can get anxious. 

As Taylor took me down the street, I was very aware of just how many obstacles there are on the average street, but luckily Portswood High Street is quite broad and we were able to get past without much trouble. This isn't always the case and the team informed me that in some cities a lot of people avoid going out because the streets feel dangerous. 

I want to thank the Guide Dog team for coming to Portswood today, I had a great time with Taylor and the team.

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